Beyond the Headlines- Helping Haiti: Is Aid the Cure or the Disease?

“The man next to me on the bus strikes up a conversation during a rare smooth section of road from Port-au-Prince to Cap Haitien.

“Are you a missionary?”


“Do you work for a NGO?”


“Then why the heck are you in Haiti?!”

He’s not surprised that I want to visit Haiti – in fact, he thinks Haiti is supremely beautiful. He is shocked, however, because almost all Westerners in Haiti work for either missionary or aid organizations.


The Republic of NGOs

Despite fifty years of receiving considerable aid, Haiti has become poorer every year.

Haiti bears the dubious honor of hosting more NGOs per capita than any other country in the world – a title it held even before the horde of new post-earthquake NGOs. Haitians – and outsiders – sarcastically refer to their country as the “Republic of NGOs.”

In cities, every other car seems to be a shiny new Toyota Land Cruiser adorned with either a UN or NGO logo. Haiti went so far as to create special license plates specifically for NGOs. UN police are omnipresent. They do not have the power to arrest anyone, but they can monopolize all the good parking spots at local bars, as I find out one evening.”- Paul Luning, Beyond the Headlines, 15 January, 2015.

Read the full article here.



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2 Replies to "Beyond the Headlines- Helping Haiti: Is Aid the Cure or the Disease?"

  • Alan Marshall
    March 14, 2015 (10:46 pm)

    Yes, I have something to say. I would love to be there, on the ground, not as a member of an NGO, but living sustainably in a little dwelling, applying some of my innovative ideas to make a very small and effective footprint on the Earth. I could not afford to live there if anyone treated me like I was a rich white man. But I could if Haitian people taught me to live like they do, with love, compassion and laughter to oil the wheels of community.

    How are the NGOs holding your country back? Is it by distortion of the economy?

  • John Gooch
    March 20, 2015 (9:07 pm)

    The basic problem of external charity, is that they either go home after a while or they grow into a separate section, thus leaving the main problems carrying on, but a bit more energetic from the external investment.
    This is why a Christian wants to obey the law better than even the very lawmakers, because they feel God has a reason
    to be interested in this seemingly futile life we have.

    SOIL has tried to buck the trend, by looking for what gets some of the locals actively helping.

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